Essay Assignments

Experience as Evidence

For this paper students consider a personal experience and how that experience relates to the idea of civic engagement. They must develop an argument of inquiry that asks their audience to think about the questions they are posing, and to try to persuade their audience that the inquiry and the way the author is pursuing it is worthwhile.

Experience and Other Evidence

This paper builds on the first assignment as students consider how some element of their experience relates to a broader situation, issue, or controversy. Students combine their personal insights on the issue with evidence from research in order to develop an argument meant to persuade readers of a particular position.

Considering Another Side Essays

This assignment recognizes the importance of understanding the ideas of those who hold a position different than your own, in order to more fully comprehend an issue and to be able to refute opposing positions with assurance. In this paper, students take up the ideas and arguments of those holding alternative positions to their own, arguing as if they are on "another side."

Final Research Essays

In this paper students will make an argument using insights that they develop from their research and familiarity with the subject and discipline. This assignment requires that they understand a topic in depth, be able to offer background on what is at issue in the topic, put the topic and issues in context, and both support their own position and take other positions into account, either by refuting, conceding, or bridging those arguments.